Louisiana's worst year for West Nile virus in a decade continues into the fall season. On Friday the state Department of Health and Hospitals reported 12 new West Nile virus cases, and two more West Nile-related deaths.
Five of the 12 new cases involve the life-threatening neuroinvasive disease, which can lead to brain damage, paralysis or death. One of the cases caused no symptoms, while the remaining six were the less-serious West Nile fever. That's the form of the disease causes flu-like symptoms.
The latest figures bring the number of West Nile cases this year in Louisiana to 356, and that includes 15 deaths.
In a statement, DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein urged people to be vigilant about protecting themselves against mosquito bites as health officials expect West Nile to remain an annual threat.
2012 has been the worst year in Louisiana for West Nile virus since 2002, when 328 cases were reported.